This issue of new formations tries to overcome some of the binary rigidities that impede a dialectical understanding of science. Scientific materialism and realism are at the heart of the project of modernity. Nevertheless, and in spite of its real emancipatory powers, science and its claims to truth seldom entirely escape from the ideological envelope of their times or from the nets of funding sources, interest group concerns and career-building in which, like everything else, they are ensnared. In addition, the scientific world-view often re-inforces a positivistic and narrow version of what counts as facts, resisting wider cultural assessments of value. Yet, the idea that scientific endeavour is just bad, and that our best energies should be directed towards a wholesale critique of its ideological underpinnings, is equally one-sided. This collection of essays attempts to find a way through the pitfalls that litter the way to a more nuanced understanding of the complex figures that make up the relationship between science and culture.